A letter to the GHM church camp. 4 April 2015
Our trip to Zimbabwe last year was one of our ministry highlights in 2014. It was a real privilege to be with you and experience such an outpouring of the power and favour of God in Ndanga and in Harare. Together we experienced acceleration in the spirit like I have never seen before. We experience miracles in the meetings and we had testimonies of God’s favour as you returned to your communities.
I have very much looked forward to joining you once again this April. The matter was more or less settled, the dates were reserved the money was available; it was just a case of booking my ticket. But then I began to feel a hesitation in my spirit. I knew it was right to go, I had peace to go but I did not have any joy. This was strange to me because I had so much enjoyed ministering to you and being with you in April 2014. So I began to realize that God might be speaking to me.
I teach that we should always seek guidance based on the principles of the kingdom of God. In Romans 14:17 we read, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
That means that when we’re making kingdom plans, we need to have a threefold witness: there must be righteousness peace and joy from the Holy Spirit.
So I always ask these questions:
• Is it right to do this?
• Do I have peace to do this?
• Do I have joy when I think about doing this?
So you see, I had the righteousness and the peace but I did not have the joy. So I asked Joseph Tea. He is a disciple who I have been training and he was going to come with me. But when I asked him he said “I think it seems right, I had excitement but for some reasons I can’t say I have joy now to go.” So for this reason we decided that God must be warning us to cancel the trip. That is why I called Sister Everjoy and Martin and said April is not the right time. I want to come and be with you but not in April.
Now as it happened this was clearly guidance. Because my brother died unexpectedly at the end of March and I have had to spend a lot of time with his family in the UK, which means it would have been very hard if I was coming to Zimbabwe now. At the beginning of March, the Lord started to speak to me about visiting my brother who lives in London. So we went to see him for a long weekend. We spent four evenings together and had a very good and important time of sharing and prayer together. Two days after we returned he dropped dead at work. I returned to London and was with the family trying to help them for 2 weeks until after the funeral. Now I also need to spend some time with my parents to console and encourage them. Therefore we ask for your prayers for all of us at this time.
A practical checklist for seeking the guidance and timing of the Lord
The Bible says “All things work together for the God of those who love him and are called according to his purposes”. So in order to find the good we must love God and we must recognize his calling and his purposes. The Good does not come automatically.
And the Kingdom three-fold check is one way that we can teach each other how to recognize the purposes of God and move in his timing. When you are seeking the Lord’s will and making your own decisions use this three-fold check. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and then say: Lord in your word it says, “The kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17. Now show me are you in this?
Let me break it down once again for better understanding:
The FIRST check is RIGHTEOUSNESS
There are two levels to righteousness. Is what you plan to do right and are you doing it in the right way? There is the legal dimension of righteousness that you can judge according to the natural and spiritual laws. That means you ask: “Is it legal according to the laws of the land and according to the laws of God?” You can specifically consider the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, to know if any action or thought is righteous.
But there is also the righteousness of God that comes from the finished work of Christ. Any religious effort that is designed to add to the work of Christ in making you righteous is not righteous.
In other words, it you are motivated by a desire to be righteous in the eyes of men or to earn credit in the eyes of God then it is not the righteousness of God. If you are trying to testify about your generosity like Ananias and Sapphira to gain the approval of people, that is not righteous, even though giving is righteous.
Or another example, perhaps you are wondering if it is God’s will that you fast. Fasting is certainly permitted in the Bible and in your country. So it is legal. But if you think that God will forgive your sins because of your fasting, then that is you trying to earn your own righteousness and instead of allowing the righteousness of Christ to be imputed to you.
So using the test of God’s righteousness on this plan to fast, you would realize that it this is wrong. On the other hand if you feel the call of God in your heart to fast to strengthen your spirit and listen to his voice that is righteous.
Another example was the case of a young man who wanted to help the refugees in our village. So we checked the 3-fold test and when it came to righteousness, I asked if he had permission from the Pastor to use the youth centre and if he had permission from the government to work with the refugees. You see kingdom righteousness respects order and authority.
The second check is PEACE
Do you have the peace of God, the peace that passes or surpasses understanding when you think about doing this thing?
Now don’t confuse lack of peace with natural apprehension. Like, for example, when you need to take an exam. If you have studied and rested on Sunday and done your level best to prepare, you should have peace to do the exam. But if you have been lazy you might be lacking peace. But that does not mean it is not God’s will for you to take the exam.You have to do your best in school and in doing your homework so that you have peace and joy when it comes to exam time.
When I travel to Pakistan, peace is very important. If we don’t have the peace of God, we know that we are in danger and that we need to change our plans, our route or our meeting location. To be out of the will of God in Pakistan can be fatal. Because suicide bombers can attack the church! So we need the peace of God in every move we make and in all our plans.
When you have the PEACE of God, you still can face some complications or difficulties but you don’t feel an inner tension. You don’t doubt yourself or question your own calling or identity. You know simply that you need to address a problem. But when the peace lifts you need to move.
Young ladies, young men, righteousness and peace will help you stay pure and guard your body. Outside marriage you can be aroused and excited but there will always be some fear. But when you stay within the will of God, there is no fear. You look forward to your wedding with peace and joy.
The THIRD check is JOY in the Holy Spirit.
When I make travel plans, led by the Spirit I always feel the joy of the Lord about the people I will see, the messages the Lord is giving and the miracles that God is going to do during the events. That is the test of joy. So brothers and sisters.
Why don’t you encourage one another as you make your future plans in life and in the church life to use the three-fold Kingdom check and look for Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit. And the next verse tells us of the reward this will bring:
“Because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.”